Thank you for a most fascinating question.
I was astounded and delighted at what I was able to find online
regarding Kumakichi Harada. I hope you will be as well.
The entire court records of the Harada war crimes trial -- all 363
pages worth -- have been digitized, and are available on line. I'll
provide the link below, but a bit of background first.
Lt. General Kumakichi Harada, and four of his military associates,
were tried not by the British -- as you had supposed -- but by an
Australian war crimes court, for the summary execution of three
Australian pilots who had been taken prisoners of war.
As stated in the file itself (page 2), which lists the names of
General Harada and four others:
3rd December, 1946
The abovenamed accused were charged before a duly convened and
properly constituted military court with:
"COMMITTING A WAR CRIME in that they at or near TANDJONG PRIOK, JAVA
on 5th February 1945 in violation of the laws and usages of war were
concerned in the unlawful killing of F/Sgts RYAN, BROWN and VETTER of
the Royal Australian Air Force then Australian Prisoners of War held
by the Japanese Armed Forces."
The file contains a lot of documents, including a "poor wife's
petition" (page 5) from Gen. Harada's wife asking for consideration
for her husband, and another letter to the tribunal (page 9) from five
of his children.
There is also a letter/petition from Harada himself (page 20), in
which he says: "I am taking the liberty of writing to you to plead for
mitigation of the sentence, death by hanging, passed upon myself..."
The actual death warrant appears on page 48. The transcript of the
trial itself begins around page 58 and appears to take up the bulk of
the remaining file.
I did not see a specific letter along the lines of what you described
in your question -- and it seems likely that such a letter would be in
the file if it, in fact, existed. Perhaps a closer examination of the
363 pages therein may turn up a relevant document that I overlooked in
To access the documents themselves, please visit the site of the
National Archives of Australia at:
and click on the text that says "RecordSearch" on the left hand side
of the page. This will take you to:
where you can select "Search Now as a guest" to go to:
where you can enter the name HARADA in the search box, and enter
1930-1950 in the "Dates" box, and hit "Search".
This will take you to a results page that indicated (for me) 18
results. Click on Display, and you'll be taken to a list of the 18
One of the results is entitled:
"War Crimes. Proceedings of Military Tribunal. Lt Gen Harada & Others"
and amazingly, happily, it is the only result that includes a link to
"View digital copy". Click on this, and you're there!
The resulting images are easily viewable, and should prove a real
treasure trove for you.
Please note that the 18 results on the earlier page are not all for
General Harada, but there are other documents listed that ARE specific
to Kumakichi Harada. Unfortunately, these are not viewable on-line,
but may be obtainable from the Archives staff. They can be contacted
via email at:
If anything I have written here is not clear -- or if you need
additional information -- please let me know before rating this
question. Just post a Request for Clarification, and I'll be happy to
assist you further.
I wish you all the best in your continued research.
I searched old newspaper files at www.newspaperarchives.com for
articles on Harada, and found only small snippets, but these indicated
he was tried by the Australians. I then conducted a Google search on
[ archives australia ] and came to the National Archives site, where I
conducted a search as described above.
Clarification of Answer by
24 Mar 2004 14:58 PST
I'm so glad to hear back from you. It's great to know that the
information met your expectations...I was thrilled when I found it,
myself. And thanks so much for the kind rating and the generous tip.
A couple of things:
--Please note that there are several other materials regarding Gen.
Harada at the archives site, including: Control Symbol # 191 -- a
photograph of Hararda; Control Symbol NN, Barcode 395442 --
undescribed; Control symbol
336/1/1354, also related to the war crimes trial.
If you click on the control symbol for these items, it will take you
to a page with an option to "Request Copy" which takes you directly to
a form you can fill out.
--I hope you will post more questions here, and I hope they turn out
to be as much fun as this one was. I'll keep an eye out, but if you
want me to answer it, you can post a question with "Attn: Pafalafa-ga"
in the subject line.
All the best,